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This project is designed to help author Scott Rains.

 This past December Rolling Rains blog author Scott Rains had some health issues. 

His colleagues started a campaign to support his new lifestyle at Go Fund Me.
There is less than $3,500 to get to our goal and Give Scott a Lift. Thanks to the generosity of each of our donors, Scott and Patricia have been able to put down a deposit for the track system. 
Please join me in making one final push to invite others to participate in this campaign of caring and gratitude to Scott. If everyone who already donated persuades JUST ONE OR TWO more people to give, we will achieve our goal in no time. Can we wrap this up by June 1? 

Thoughts on Evaluating Countries for Mobility-Impaired American Travelers
Scott Rains,

When Americans with disabilities ask about a place "Is it accessible?" they actually mean "Is it independently accessible?" ("Can I get in, out and around there by myself  using whatever means of mobility is normal for me?") They most likely also mean, "Are all the products, programs and social interaction which take place there open to my participation." (Is it socially inclusive?)
When Americans with disabilities travel they do so with an assumed baseline that is the legacy of the Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its implementation
guidelines (ADAAG), actions of the U.S. Access Board, and legal decisions such as Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. It is appropriate to evaluate the accessibility (and/or social inclusiveness) of another country relative to wha ta US traveler has come to expect as the norm back home regardless of the legal,economic or social framework of the state being visited.
A first reference point as to the potential ease of travel,accommodation and social participation by PwD might be to determine if the state being visited has ratified the CRPD since the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is based on the ADA.Embassy staff can learn a great deal about the status (actual and aspirational ) of PwD by examining the actions of the state post ratification of the CRPD audits optional protocols.
Typically national listening sessions, public education campaigns and a complete review of a state's laws and policies follow ratification. Subsequent reviews of existing building codes, infrastructure accessibility, monitoring or permitting procedures and disability-oriented services that are undertaken by state actors, the private or the civil sector can provide a database for evaluating hospitality.
The truth is that no city, country or society is completely accessible or inclusive - nor has one ever been at any time in history. Americanslive at the cutting edge of an experiment in the granting of human rights to all.

Yet few Americans recognize the degree to which the rights they come from the constant work and even mistakes of their neighbors. Be both firm and patient.

Scandic's accessibility training has won first prize for best interactive training at the Swedish Learning Awards 2014 and also took home silver in the British E-learning Awards

Scandic is a leading hotel operator in the Nordic countries today. Just over 10 years ago Scandic started its journey towards making its hotels more accessible for people with disabilities. On top of this a wide-ranging interactive training programme has been developed for all the hotel chain's employees with the aim of fostering an understanding of different types of accessibility challenges and the importance of treating all guests properly. This approach has seen Scandic giving itself a unique position unmatched in Sweden or abroad.

In late 2013 Scandic took the next step in making its interactive training on its own website openly available, helping to improve awareness among the general public.

"Every day we see people from outside Scandic completing our training on the website. Receiving an award for this is the icing on the cake and something that makes us particularly proud. It shows that the issue of accessibility is an important one," says Scandic's Director of Accessibility Magnus Berglund.

In the Swedish E-learning awards Scandic won in the category "Best e-learning profit-making business" in Sweden. The jury said:

"An easy-to-use interface with inspiring shifts in perspective that enable a wide target group to realise and understand that when staying at a hotel not everyone enjoys the same experience on the same terms."

Scandic also won silver for the best e-learning product in the British E-learning Awards, amid the tough competition of 250 international entries.

Want to find out more about the training course? Follow the link here, or read more about Scandic's important work on accessibility here.

IUCN World Parks Congress


The upcoming World Parks Congress is a once in 10 year event with over 3000 delegates from around the world. On Monday the 17th of November there are two sessions on park accessibility and inclusion.

Diverse parks, diverse communities - parks and protected areas for everyone. 1:30 to 3:00pm in Hall 3B1

Learn about some fascinating and innovative programs that are being run in parks and protected areas to improve the health and well-being of diverse community groups. The variety of programs featured include social inclusion programs for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; engaging and empowering communities through place-based education and activation; universal design of park facilities and how providing specialised equipment and detailed accessibility information can encourage people with a disability to visit parks and protected areas.

Key Speakers: David Stratton - TrailRider Advocate, Sam Cuff - Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service Australia, Aimee Freimanis - Parramatta City Council, Mr. Yoon, Sang-heon - Korea National Park Service, John Kenwright - Parks Victoria, Bill Forrester - Travability.

Creating and promoting accessible protected area experiences for visitors with disabilities. 

5:30 to 7:00pm Hall 3B1

This workshop will explore and discuss the common barriers to gaining protected area access information as experienced by visitors with disabilities. Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the: • Growing international need for accessible protected area infrastructure and protected area experiences. • Type and range of protected area experiences and activities that visitors of all abilities are seeking. • Importance of compiling protected area accessibility information guides in a practical format for visitors. Participants will be encouraged to share their lessons learnt on protected area accessibility and give ideas for application in other protected area settings including both urban and wilderness parks. This workshop will also provide a toolkit for participants to learn how to evaluate the accessibility of their own parks and protected areas using a protected area evaluation manual developed by Parks Victoria and Travability. This workshop is led by Parks Victoria in conjunction with Travability.

For more:

Hotels of the Future

TGR img

TGR img

With a view to setting new standards for hotel rooms of the future, the SHTM collaborated with its teaching and research hotel, Hotel ICON, to again organise a global competition in 2014 to shape guestrooms of tomorrow.

Taking the theme 'The Hotel Room of the Future', the competition this year will be held from September to December 2014. Professionals in interior or hotel design, and design students from tertiary education institutions are invited to submit their design proposals individually or as a team for one of the Tomorrow's Guestrooms to showcase their vision of hotel room design for guests of the future.

Entries in the competition will be reviewed by an expert panel, and winners may have the chance to have their design realised in one of the dedicated research bedrooms at Hong Kong's one-of-a-kind teaching and research hotel - Hotel ICON.

An SHTM initiative, Tomorrow's Guestrooms serve as an innovative platform to innovate, develop and showcase new technologies, hotel designs and business concepts in hotel management. Through these dedicated guestrooms, the SHTM is creating a "House of Innovation" not only for the benefit of education and research but also for the advancement of the entire hotel industry

Full story:

Both funny and intelligent - this article by Bill Forrester is a great read for anyone implementing Inclusive Tourism.


The unemployment rate for persons with a disability continues to be almost double the rate for persons without a disability. Personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an analysis of 2014's Best and Worst Cities for Americans with Disabilities.

The group analyzed the 150 most populated U.S. cities across 23 key metrics. They range from the number of physicians per capita to the rate of employed people with disabilities to park accessibility. 

 Best Cities for People with Disabilities Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
 1Overland Park, KS 141Chicago, IL
 2Peoria, AZ 142Los Angeles, CA
 3Scottsdale, AZ 143Reno, NV
 4Lubbock, TX 144Fort Lauderdale, FL
 5Chandler, AZ 145Jackson, MS
 6Amarillo, TX 146Hialeah, FL
 7Gilbert, AZ 147Las Vegas, NV
 8Tampa, FL 148Miami, FL
 9Chesapeake, VA 149North Las Vegas, NV
 10Huntsville, AL 150Providence, RI
Key Stats

  • The adjusted cost of living in New York is 2 times higher than in Nashville, Tenn.
  • The employment rate of people with disabilities in Overland Park, Kans. is 2 times higher than in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • The percentage of the population with disabilities below poverty level in Rochester, N.Y. is 6 times higher than in Plano, Tex.
  • The cost of a doctor visit in Madison, Wis. is 3 times higher than in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • The annual cost of in-home services in Madison, Wis. is 2 times higher than in Brownsville, Tex.
  • The percentage of persons with disabilities living in Detroit, Mich. is 4 times higher than in Irvine, Calif.
  • The number of special education teachers per people with disabilities in Charlotte, N.C. is 26 times higher than in Detroit, Mich.
  • The percentage of the population with walkable park access in San Francisco, Calif. is 4 times higher than in Charlotte, N.C.
For the full report and to see where your city ranks, please visit:



Mapping occupation, skills needs and training content


1. Accessible tourism training should take into account the context of training, the

trainee's prior qualifications, knowledge and experience, the level of the training to be

delivered and visitors' specific access requirements.

2. If a visitor experience is to be truly accessible then all elements of the supply chain or

customer journey must be accessible. As a result, a person's place in the tourism

value chain is less important for determining skills and training needs than the role that

this person fulfils in the business.

3. Thus, skills needs and training provision must differentiate between different skills

levels (basic, in-depth) and different occupational roles (Managers with / without

customer contact, frontline staff, others (including technical specialists).

4. Training content and learning outcomes should include Knowledge of disabilities /

types of disability and access requirements, Barriers to accessibility & Design for All,

Strategic development of accessibility in business, Principles of effective customer

service, Proper etiquette for dealing with PwD, Recognising and responding

appropriately to people using personal supports and Service animals and assistive


5. There are wide differences in accessible tourism content in mainstream tourism and

hospitality training curricula across the EU.

6. On the whole, the level of awareness and qualifications of tourism services providers

is inadequate to address the needs of people with disabilities. There is an urgent need

to promote an understanding of accessibility before it is possible to persuade

businesses to take up training.

7. Existing training is overwhelmingly directed towards continuing vocational educational

training (VET). Current training provisions are often provided on a non-permanent

basis or reach too few individuals to have an effective impact on the accessible

tourism services.

8. Overall, NGOs are the most active organisations delivering accessibility training for

businesses across Europe. NGOs have developed the training in partnership with

tourism organisations, tourism boards or businesses in order to feed in the sector


9. The standard methods of delivering formal training are online and traditional

classroom-based training. Some training providers1 have developed "blended-learning

programme" or "b-learning". Direct involvement with people with disabilities during

training has the greatest level of impact and duration. However, it is also indirectly

mentioned as a barrier for businesses to take up the training.

10. A majority of courses are directed to frontline staff. However, there is a recognition that 

it is important to reach managers for the training to have a more long-lasting impact. 

11. Most training introduces introductory-level skills as business conditions often require a 

fast delivery of training which is focused on giving results in the daily work of every 

staff member.

12. Motor and sensory impairments rank among the accessibility requirements most often 

addressed in the training.

Existing demand for accessible tourism training

13. SMEs in the tourism sector make less use of formal training than large enterprises -

whether for managers or staff - due to limited financial resources, limited time and 

difficulties in accessing training courses locally. Informal training and "on the-job" 

experiences are important tools to enhance staff skills among SMEs.

14. Thus, training should not be limited to structured and top-down approaches to learning

and may take the form of "awareness raising" which is less formal and has broader 

appeal to SMEs.

15. While a number of certificates in accessibility training exist across Europe, these do 

not give academic credits and most qualifications are not recognised in the wider 

tourism sector. 

16. In several Member States there is growing awareness of the importance of the 

accessibility market. Awareness may be influenced by government anti-discrimination 

policies or accessibility may be adopted is part of the strategic development of a 

country's or region's tourism products. The maturity of a tourism destination does not 

seem to have any bearing on the availability of courses or the uptake of accessibility. 

Gaps in training provision and the role of EU projects

17. Key gaps in the existing training landscape include a gap in the actual 

availability/provision of training, a gap in the development of the business case for 

training and a gap in evaluating the impact of training on customers, staff and 


18. The role of EU-projects to remedy the gap in the availability of accessible tourism 

training has so far been rather limited. EU funded projects have focused on 

establishing a basic understanding about the target of training initiatives, the main 

actors who need to be trained (management, staff and different occupational roles) 

and appropriate training tools, methods and curricula. The main achievement of most 

of these projects lies in the awareness raised among the participants and the relevant 


19. At the same time, EU projects so far have suffered from low transferability and weak 

dissemination. Accordingly their efforts have not been exploited in a coordinated way. 

The widespread lack of continuity or uptake of training suggests some projects were 

not sufficiently embedded in the tourism sector at an institutional level. Many of these 

EU funded projects were pilot projects with very few participants.

Drivers of supply/demand for training

20. Key factors that influence the supply of training provisions are tourism policy and

legislation. In those Member States where accessibility has a strategic role in the

development of tourism products there seem to be a higher number of available

training courses. Legislation seem to encourage the proliferation of training courses

(as well as uptake), at least where this legislation is being properly enforced.

21. The greatest barrier to training is the lack of awareness of accessibility and the lack of

a convincing business case for accessibility training. Tourism businesses have little

incentive to engage in training for accessibility when this is a poorly understood

market. The challenge seems to consist in making a convincing business case for

training, structuring the market (demand and supply) for training and spreading

awareness of successful business practices by peers.

22. A top-down process of awareness for accessibility seems to favour provision of

training courses. Business and trade associations must be fully integrated in efforts to

develop an accessible tourism business case.

23. Key actors within organisations such as tourism boards, but also individual businesses

or service providers can act as "champions", actively promoting training as an integral

part of accessibility strategies.


24. There is a strong case for a recognised European certificate in the area of Accessible

Tourism. The field is still sufficiently "young" for such a transferable qualification to be

developed, yet without one, different national variations may appear, which could

entail difficulties in the coming years regarding mutual recognition in different EU

Member States.

25. Development of such a standard would help address both supply side barriers (by

providing a structure to the market for accessible training provision) and some of the

demand side challenges (by defining accessible tourism skills as a transferrable and

recognised skill).

26. The standard would not require the design of specialised accessible tourism training

modules. Rather, the required skills (as defined in section 3 of his report) could be

integrated into existing tourism qualification. This would certainly be the case for the

basic skills per occupational group defined in section 3 with more in-depth training

being provided in separate modules focused exclusively on accessible tourism

27. A full list of recommendations is presented in section 7 of the full report which is at:

Below is the European report "Mapping of Skills and Training needs to improve accessible tourism services". 

The report includes all findings of the research and data collection, the full analysis of results and a set of conclusions and recommendations. To facilitate dissemination, all country level data and the 20 case study reports my be downloaded here: 

 Authored for the European Commission by Pierre Hausemer, Ivor Ambrose, Kei Ito and Monika Auzinger. 

The study is downloadable as PDF here:

A major part of the Research Study commissioned in 2013 by the European Commission and awarded to VVAENAT and3s Research, involved the preparation of 20 Case Studies, examining accessible tourism training programmes and projects in Europe and abroad.

The selected Case Studies can be regarded as examples of good practice in vocational education and training, although certain weaknesses are also identified, where appropriate.

On the ENAT website the following case studies may be downloaded:

List of Skills and Training Case Studies

  1. ABTA, United Kingdom

  2. ETCAATS, EU Training Project, Sweden
  3. Perfil - Psicologia e Trabalho, Portugal
  4. SCANDIC Hotels, Sweden
  5. Kéroul
 Welcoming Ways, Canada
  6. ATHENA EU Training Project, Czech Republic
  7. Via Libre, Spain
  8. VisitEngland, United Kingdom
  9. People 1st, Welcome All. United Kingdom 

  10. PEOPLECERT, Greece
  11. COIN, Italy
  12. HERMES Airports, Cyprus
  13. Cluster for Accessible Tourism, Bulgaria
  14. Lousã, Accessible Tourism Destination, Portugal
  15. TACTALL EU Training Project, Spain
  16. Ministry of Tourism, Ontario, Canada

  17. Disney Corporation, France
  18. VisitFlanders' Accessibility Training, Belgium
  19. Barrier-Free Destinations, Germany
  20. EU Funded Training Projects

The Business Benefits of Universal Design

My first international adventure was an amazing one. Elaine Keane is an occupational therapist that has opened, Crecer, a free clinic in Ecuador. Six occupational therapy students, six physical therapy students, and our professors ventured to Ecuador to provide services at Elaine's free clinic along with other sites in the area, including an adult day care, nursing home, and orphanage.


Throughout the week, the OT and PT students took over the caseload at Crecer Centro de Rehabilitación, Educación, Capacitación, Estudios y Recursos, Inc. My group, composed of two OT and two PT students, saw clients pediatric to adult. One of our successful cotreat sessions was with a young boy with spastic cerebral palsy. The PT student held the boy on his knee focusing on breaking up his tone with proper positioning while I completed a tabletop activity with the boy encouraging him to bring his hands to midline while completing fine motor tasks. Our class also worked with an adult who suffered a TBI after a fall at his electrical job. One group worked on his mathematical skills by creating a mock store and asking him to purchase items and calculate the correct change. Another group arranged the therapy room to mimic his electrician job site. The client demonstrated what his job entails as the OT and PT students noted areas that needed improvement before he is able to return to his job.

At FUNHI, the adult day care, we had a sports day playing adapted versions of volleyball, soccer, hockey, and ring toss. We also celebrated a Quinceanera with the clients. We took this opportunity to create birthday cards with those who hoped to improve their fine motor skills. Those who needed to improve range of motion helped us decorate the room with crepe paper and balloons.

The Asilo orphanage and nursing home were less focused on individual therapy sessions and more so aimed at serving the large population in a volunteer aspect. The girls at the orphanage ranged from 18 months to 14 years old. From painting nails to making balloon animals, the girls had a blast and the students didn't want to leave. At the nursing home we first helped shower the residents each morning. It was a very humbling experience. In the afternoon we had a fiesta with the residents, which included balloon games, jewelry making, and a lot of dancing.

The trip wasn't all about work. We had plenty of fun- zip lining upside down in the Andes Mountains, white water rafting in intertubes, relaxing in the hot springs heated by volcanoes, learning how chocolate is made, going to a butterfly house, orchid tour, tasting guinea pig, and sightseeing. I thoroughly enjoyed my first traveling experience and can't wait for traveling opportunities in the future.

Signs Restaurant

Signs Restaurant is staffed with deaf servers, and is now open for business in Toronto's busy Yonge and Wellesley area. The restaurant is the first project of its kind in Canada.

"I think it's super inspiring," says Christine Nelson from the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf. "On behalf of the whole community we're thrilled to see something like this take place."

Owner Anjan Manikumar says he got the inspiration for Signs while working in a Markham restaurant as a server. He had a deaf customer who had to order by pointing to the menu. "I felt he wasn't getting the service he deserved," says Manikumar. "He wasn't getting the personal touch."

Full article:

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